Intrathoracic neurogenic tumors

Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2014 Mar;62(2):147-52. doi: 10.1055/s-0033-1343898. Epub 2013 Apr 23.


Background: Intrathoracic neurogenic tumors are uncommon neoplasms arising from nerve tissues. This study reports on our 24-year single-center experience with intrathoracic neurogenic tumors.

Patients and methods: We retrospectively analyzed the postoperative pathological records of 19,378 operations performed in our clinic between January 1988 and December 2011 and included cases with diagnosis of neurogenic tumors.

Results: The study included 149 patients (90 females and 59 males) with an average age of 24.5 years (7 months to 77 years). The study group comprised 29 infants and children, and 120 adults. Of the patients, 72 had benign schwannomas, 10 malignant schwannomas, 17 neurofibromas, 24 ganglioneuromas, 9 ganglioneuroblastomas, 4 neuroblastomas, 9 primitive neuroectodermal tumors, and 4 paragangliomas. Concerning the location of these lesions, 131 were located in the posterior mediastinum, 8 in the lung parenchyma, 5 in the chest wall, 3 in the anterior mediastinum, and 2 in the thoracic inlet. The majority of nerve cell tumors were in infants and children (79.3%), whereas the nerve sheath tumors most commonly occurred in adults (78.3%). There were 117 benign and 32 malignant tumors across all age groups. The rate of malignancy was 41.4% in infants and children, compared with 16.7% in adults. Symptoms were seen in 65% of the adult patients and 79.3% of the infant and children patients. Seven tumors were associated with von Recklinghausen's disease. In six patients (4.0%), the tumor showed an intraspinal extension. Surgical resection of the tumor was complete in 142 of 149 patients (95.3%).

Conclusion: The treatment of choice for malignant and benign thoracic neurogenic tumors is complete resection. The objective of resection is to avoid local invasion, facilitate differential histopathological diagnosis to determine other treatment options, and to prevent malignant degeneration.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Biopsy, Fine-Needle
  • Bronchoscopy
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Forecasting*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms, Nerve Tissue / diagnosis*
  • Neoplasms, Nerve Tissue / surgery
  • Positron-Emission Tomography
  • Prognosis
  • Thoracic Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Thoracic Neoplasms / surgery
  • Thoracic Surgical Procedures / methods*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Young Adult